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WWE SmackDown preview (Mar. 31, 2023): It’s way too easy for Cody Rhodes

SmackDown airs tonight (Mar. 31) with a live show from Arena in Los Angeles, California. This is the final SmackDown episode during the six week build towards WrestleMania 39, which takes place this weekend (Apr. 1 & Apr. 2).

It’s way too easy for Cody Rhodes

WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns will defend the gold against Cody Rhodes in the main event of WrestleMania 39. Cody has a ton of momentum on his side after he just became the first wrestler on the main roster to pin Solo Sikoa, who happens to be the silent muscle of The Bloodline.

Reigns and Rhodes will both be on SmackDown tonight for one final confrontation before their championship fight at WrestleMania. So, what might happen when the top heel and top babyface in WWE meet each other in the ring tonight?

One booking strategy is to keep the champ and challenger from touching each other until they actually fight on PPV. Perhaps WWE will stick to that route, as Cody and Roman have yet to attack each other during their previous meet-ups on the road to WrestleMania.

However, Cody’s booking in 2023 stands out for just how easy everything has been for him to accomplish. He’s had practically no adversity to overcome.

It began when Cody conveniently drew number 30 in the men’s Royal Rumble match. He had the most advantageous position in the Rumble and went on to win it all. What a lucky guy.

Since then, has there been a single episode of Raw or SmackDown where Cody has been laid out, or the heels physically got the better of him? Maybe it’s just a case of fallible human memory, but I can’t recall a single time where any heels stood tall over Cody. It’s a very rare thing for a babyface to just walk all over everyone on his way to a match with the top heel in the company and never have to deal with any beatdowns, betrayals, ambushes, or losses along the way, but Cody has avoided most of the typical obstacles that lie in the path of a babyface on the way to main eventing WrestleMania.

Something doesn’t quite add up here, especially when you consider how dominant The Bloodline has been for the better part of three years. No wrestler can completely avoid their wrath like this, and then also win the actual match that matters on PPV.

If Cody isn’t left laying on his back tonight by The Bloodline, then his path to the world title at WrestleMania will seem way too easy. He has to get his ass kicked one of these weeks, no? If not, does that foreshadow Roman beating him at WrestleMania 39?

Tonight’s episode of SmackDown is the only chance left for The Bloodline to beat the shit out of Rhodes and send a powerful message about what he’s truly up against at WrestleMania. Let’s see if Cody faces that kind of adversity for once in 2023, or if he will walk into the biggest match of his career without a scratch on his chin.

The rest of the title scene

The Intercontinental championship is up for grabs at WrestleMania in a triple threat match between GUNTHER, Sheamus, and Drew McIntryre. Will the Banger Bros be able to coexist tonight if they have to team up to take on GUNTHER’s lackeys in Imperium?

SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair cut a strange promo last week that seemed to partially run against the babyface work she’s been doing lately. As a result, Rhea Ripley and Flair could use one final hot angle to get people more excited about their WrestleMania match again.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will challenge the Usos for the WWE tag team titles at WrestleMania 39. Does The Bloodline have a trick up its sleeve to give Jimmy and Jey an unfair advantage heading into WrestleMania?

The WWE women’s tag team titles won’t be a factor at WrestleMania, as Becky Lynch and Lita are caught up in six-woman tag team action (along with Trish Stratus) against Damage CTRL.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Tonight’s episode features the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, where Madcap Moss will try to repeat as the winner. It won’t be easy, as he’ll have to survive the likes of Bronson Reed, Karrion Kross, Xavier Woods, Dexter Lumis, LA Knight, the Good Bros, and Johnny Gargano.

- Oh yeah, Bobby Lashley is also going to be in the Andre Battle Royal. That’s because Bray Wyatt has gone missing from WWE television this month, leaving Bob with nothing to do at WrestleMania. Will Lashley find a way to get himself booked onto the WrestleMania card before tonight’s episode is over?

- It’s a huge night for Rey Mysterio, who is getting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame after SmackDown wraps up. Will his shithead son Dominik and The Judgment Day be on hand to ruin Rey’s night?

- Even with Ronda Rousey’s broken arm, her team is favored to win in the women’s four way tag match at WrestleMania. Will Raquel Rodriguez and Liv Morgan be able to convince anyone otherwise tonight?

- Will Braun Strowman and Ricochet or the Viking Raiders make a statement at someone else’s expense ahead of the four way men’s tag team match at WrestleMania?

- The lower card men on the roster who missed out on a WrestleMania match at least get the Andre Battle Royal, but what about the women? Will WWE find a way to get folks like Tegan Nox, Xia Li, Candice LeRae, Emma, Lacey Evans, and Mia Yim involved in the action?

- Could some additional stars from Raw like Bianca Belair and Asuka show up tonight to put the finishing touches on their WrestleMania storyline?

- Will there be any cameos from WWE legends on the broadcast tonight? Several of them will certainly be in the building as part of the Hall of Fame celebration.

- Are there room for more matches at WrestleMania 39? If so, will a new match or two be announced during the course of tonight’s episode?

What will you be looking for on SmackDown?

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